FX’s American Horror Story
Season 7, Episode 4: “11/9”
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton
Written by John J. Gray
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Neighbors from the Hell” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Holes” – click here
Jump back to Election Night, November 8th, 2016. Beverly Hope (Adina Porter) reports on the early polls, the spirit of the crowds. Then we’re introduced to Serena Belinda (Emma Roberts), someone Beverly’s clearly got no time for, and may give her the green-eyed monster. Outside people chant, Winter Anderson (Billie Lourd) proclaims “Down with the patriarchy.” Ivy and Ally Mayfair-Richards (Alison Pill & Sarah Paulson) head inside to cast their votes, the former making sure there’s no “funny business” from her partner like a Jill Stein protest vote, which we already know she cast. Everybody goes into the booth, marking their respective votes. Meadow Wilton (Lesie Grossman) writes in OPRAH.
We also see Gary Longstreet (Chaz Bono) being dragged in by Kai Anderson (Evan Peters). Gary’s bleeding; remember that wound we saw him with earlier in the grocery store where he works?
“Welcome to Trump‘s America, motherfuckers!”
A day after the election, Kai meets Harrison Wilton (Billy Eichner), his new trainer at the gym. They talk about what “flavour of gay” Harrison is, Kai says he doesn’t care about “leftist” labels. He’s a Plato guy, for the greater good of the community, the state. He says he’s a computer, works in coding. He doesn’t care about money; my guess is, he’s into power. He finds out more about Harrison, how they make him, because he’s gay, go in and hose down the loads in the steam room after guys beat off in there. This – a weak spot – is how cult leaders like Kai operate, they find that spot, then they work their way inside.
Before going home, Harrison finds Kai jerking off in the shower, so he watches for a minute. The beginning of a scary relationship. At the house, he and wife Meadow deal with the immediate foreclosure of their home, their eviction, which she’s been keeping secret. However, there are many other problems in their relationship, too. Least of which is the fact he’s not even straight.
When Harrison starts trying to give Kai the corporate bullshit, out of fear he’ll lose his job if he doesn’t produce at work, the latter of the two cuts him off. He tells him about the house, his money woes, which further brings out the cult leader in the young man: “Pain is essential, just like anger is.” His grandiose speeches prompt Harrison to go hard at his boss, spraying him with cleaning chemicals then crushing his larynx with a barbell. Then, of course, he’s got to finish killing the guy.
Afterwards, Harrison freaks out. We start seeing Kai work his magic, taking care of his new follower. Best of all, he’s a computer guy, he surely knows exactly what he’s doing, and that makes him even scarier than before. He has power, in his words, and in his digital capabilities/reach. Like Charles Manson for the digital age. That night, Meadow walks in on her husband, Kai coaxing him along, sawing apart his boss in the bathtub.
“You’re a part of something bigly“
Kai starts digging into reporter Beverly Hope. She once reported on an accident where a man pulled a similar event to FHRITP, which happened over and over. Eventually, she kicked the shit out of a skateboarder and lost her shit. Like you can guess, it was remixed across the internet and she became a meme, a joke. Enough to drive anybody insane. So, is this another person for our cult leader to find? Will Serena Belinda become a target for her rage?
Speaking of Serena, she’s essentially sleeping with their boss, Bob (Dermot Mulroney). She was the one who reported on Beverly going into a mental hospital after her incident, as well. An aggravating situation to work in. Hard enough being a woman, she’s a black woman in a white male dominated business.
Finally, Kai comes to her. They talk together. He speaks what she wants to hear; needs to, maybe. He speaks more about fear and “weaponising” it. More than that we find out he served in the Armed Forces, went to Iraq. Claims he studied political science and feminist studies, too. Not so sure I believe him.
Serena’s taping a story, doing her best to pretend she’s personable and not a real bitch. From behind her approaches someone in a clown mask. Several clowns approach; the gang. Not long until she and her cameraman are stabbed, hacked to bloody death.
Meanwhile, the Wiltons are getting to know Kai better. Then Beverly shows up, wondering if it was him who sent the violence for Serena. He admits, wholehearted. As if we didn’t know already, this is confirmation he’s the ringleader of the clowns, they are Kai’s cult. And now, he has a die hard follower in Ms. Hope.
The Mayfair-Richards’ are arguing, the day before election. Ivy is more active, whereas Ally is passive, like many, believing there’s no way a “reality TV” guy like Trump could secure the White House. Yet, we all know what’s happened. Out at a rally, Ivy experiences firsthand all the nonsense, even gets sexually assaulted by Gary, who pulls a Donald and grabs her by the pussy. Winter jumps in, defending her, and running him off. This is where we first witness Winter infiltrate their lives. Ivy takes her to the Butchery on Main, they have a coffee, chat. They bond over battling the patriarchy, getting closer.
After that we cut to Gary at the grocery store, excited for his chance to restore America to its supposed former glory, y’know, before a black guy took over. When he’s closing down, he finds Winter in an aisle, Ivy, too. They knock him out., then tie him up, leaving him by himself chained to a pipe so he won’t get to cast that all important vote.
Winter goes home and tells Kai what happened. Then he goes to see Gary, a saw in hand. Suggesting the only way out in time is to use it; you know where. For the privilege of voting, like so many red blooded Americans, Gary is willing to saw off his forearm. All the while the leader watches his pupil.
One of the best episodes, if not THE best episode yet. Peters is so magnetic, this is some of his better work on American Horror Story. Every season he gets the chance to do something different, he has incredible range. Can’t wait for more, as well as more of Adina Porter, she is the business.
“Holes” comes next week. Gimme more intense spookiness. NOW!